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Becoming a Lovemark

Dr. James Emery White | Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary | Monday, April 4, 2011

Becoming a Lovemark

I first became aware of Kevin Roberts, CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi, some years ago.  I enjoyed his incisive thinking and New Zealand base.

One of his principal ideas is something called a “Lovemark,” often explained through the following diagram:


When applied to business, the four quadrants are easily grasped and applied.  Something in the lower left quadrant - the low love, low respect category - has little loyalty.  It may be necessary, but it’s just a commodity.  Think the U.S. airline industry.

Something in the lower right-hand quadrant – the high love, low respect area - is little more than a fad.  Think Snooki and the Jersey Shore.

If you move into the upper left quadrant – the low love, high respect area - you have your typical brand.  You may respect that brand, but if something better comes along, you won’t think twice about switching.  Think Proctor and Gamble or General Electric.

But then you have the holy grail.  In the upper right area, you have both high love and high respect.  Roberts does not call this a product, a fad, or a brand…but a “Lovemark.”

Sticking with business, think Apple.

You can apply this to many other areas, of course.

Let’s try politics.

Name a recent American president that was high love, but low respect:  Clinton!

Name a recent American president that was low love and low respect:  Nixon! 

But then there are those rare leaders that garner both love and respect, becoming Lovemarks themselves.  Staying with American presidents, I would argue for John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

Now let’s apply this to your church. 

Are you simply a product?

Are you just a “fad?”

Are you little more than a brand?

Or have you somehow ascended to being a Lovemark?

The respect-love conundrum is worth exploring.

A Lovemark delivers beyond expectations, sitting on top of high levels of respect.  They reach our hearts as well as our mind, creating an intimate, emotional connection that we don’t want to live without.

Take a brand away and people will find a replacement.

Take a Lovemark away and people will protest its absence.

You don’t just buy Lovemarks, you embrace them passionately...you experience them.

Christianity is meant to be the ultimate Lovemark, and in light of our mission to the world, must be.  So think about where you stand in the areas of love and respect in the eyes of the world. 

And then think what it would take to move up and to the right.

James Emery White


On this, visit Lovemarks.com; see also Kevin Roberts, Lovemarks: The Future Beyond Brands (PowerHouse Books, 2004), and The Lovemarks Effect: Winning in the Consumer Revolution (PowerHouse Books, 2006).

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Becoming a Lovemark